Gill, R. and C. Scharff. 2011. Introduction to New Femininities.

Gill, Rosalind and Christina Scharff. 2011. “Introduction.” Pp. 1-17 in New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity, edited by Rosalind Gill and Christina Scharff. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

*** Incorporate: the use of femininities (plural) highlights “the social production and construction of gender,” seeking to avoid essentialism (2).


  • signals an “epistemological break within feminism” (3) and illuminates “the intersection of feminism with a number of other anti-foundational movements including post-modernism, poststructuralism, and postcolonials” (Brooks 1997:1, here 3). Alice (1995) – POST in PF seeks to challenge Anglocentric feminism’s hegemony and colonizing tendencies.
  • refers to a “historical shift after the height of Second Wave feminism” (3) – “a set of assumptions, widely disseminated within popular media forms, having to do with the ‘pastness’ of feminism, whether that supposed pastness is merely noted, mourned or celebrated” (Tasker and Negra 2007:1, here 3).
  • refers to a “backlash against feminism” (3) – taking a multiplicity of forms – blaming women’s unhappiness on feminist advances, considers gender advocacy to be moot (‘all battles won’), or by denouncing political correctness – claiming (white) men as victims of gender inequality (Faludi 1991).
  • moves forward through “postfeminism as a sensibility” (4, see also Gill 2007). McRobbie (2004) – PF as “double entanglement” taking feminism both into consideration and rejecting it – promoting both the “doing and undoing of feminism” (4) — PF as a substitute for feminist action. “… a postfeminist sensibility includes the notion that femininity is increasingly figured as bodily property; a shift from objectification to subjectification in the ways that (some) women are represented; an emphasis upon self-surveillance, monitoring and discipline; a focus upon individualism, choice and empowerment; the dominance of a ‘makeover paradigm’; a resurgence of ideas of natural sexual difference; the marked ‘resexualization’ of women’s bodies; and an emphasis upon consumerism and the commodification of difference” (4).

Comparing neoliberalism and postfeminism: “First and most broadly, both appear to be structured by a current of individualism that has almost entirely replaced notions of the social or political or any idea of individuals as subject to pressures, constraints or influence from outside themselves. Secondly, it is clear that the autonomous, calculating, self-regulating subject of neoliberalism bear a strong resemblance to the active, freely choosing, self-reinventing subject of postfeminism. [… Third,] in the popular cultural discourses examined in this volume, it is women who are called on to self-manage, to self-discipline. To a  much greater extent than men, women are required to work on and transform the self, to regulate every aspect of their conduct, and to present all their actions as freely chosen” (5).


Alice, L. 1995. What is Postfeminism? Or, Having it Both Ways: Feminism, Postmodernism, and Postfeminism. New Zealand: Massey University.

Brooks, A. 1997. Postfeminisms: Feminism, Cultural Theory and Cultural Forms. London: Routledge.

Faludi, Susan. 1991. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women. London: Chatto and Windus.

Gill, R. 2007. “Postfeminist Media Culture: Elements of Sensibility.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 10(2): 147-166.

McRobbie, A. 2004. “Post-Feminism and Popular Culture.” Feminist Media Studies 4(3): 255-264.

Tasker, Y. and D. Negra (eds). 2007. Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.




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